Prodrive Composites has fast-tracked a Design to Manufacture development programme for the Ministry of Defence (MOD). Within a very tight and critical time frame, the business helped deliver an Urgent Operational Requirement for HMS Diamond that optimised the positioning of the ship’s close defence ballistic protection structures.
The upgraded protective mounting incorporated a bespoke composite design to withstand aggressive environments and sea conditions and fits within existing packaging space. Having met all technical requirements and undergone sea trials, this system has also been installed to HMS Dragon and HMS Duncan, the Royal Navy’s most modern operational warship.
“We are proud to have been selected to deliver this critical project with BAE Systems, who recognised that our Design, Manufacturing Engineering expertise and facilities would be perfectly suited for this challenging programme,” says Warren Roberts, CEO, Prodrive Composites. “Delivery of an end-to-end solution within the specified timeframe, is a clear validation of Prodrive’s extensive in-house capabilities and the breadth of projects that we are able to undertake.”
Prodrive Composites completed all CAD work and tool design, component design, validation, manufacture and installation. “The ability to complete each stage in-house provided the platform to significantly streamline the development process,” continues Roberts. “This significantly improved our ability to concurrently engineer each element of the project. Ensuring the Royal Navy’s fleet was operational in the shortest possible time frame.
During the programme, Prodrive Composites worked closely with T45 COM, the Maritime Commissioning and Testing Authority (MCTA), and Royal Navy staff. Project requirements included the ability to control aggressive operational characteristics and to conform to World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) sea state code level 6, which controls conformance against very rough conditions with a wave height of up to six metres.
“The new system needed to be stronger and more robust but had to operate within the same space constraint. Essentially, the framework had to be stronger without being physically bigger,” explains Prodrive Composites technical sales manager, Phil Sherwood. “We carried out extensive finite element analysis with our composites team to validate our design, which relied on a cored composite structure and triangulated framework that optimised rigidity while offering the required degree of flexibility. For obvious reasons, component durability is of paramount importance.”
Following the upgrade of its on-deck close defence mounting platform, HMS Duncan – a 152-metre ship with a crew of 190 – has already been in service in the Middle East protecting allies from airstrikes.